Half a Plate of Vegetables and Fruit???

picture of food guide plate with vegetables and fruit section circled

I think it's safe to say we all know vegetables and fruits are good for us. But do we really understand what makes them so good? Canada's new Food Guide recommends half your plate to be filled with vegetables and fruit. Does this leave you feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to start? Well just sit back and take a breath....we are here to help.
First let me start with why I love vegetables and fruits.

Well I love the taste of vegetables. Really I do!! I love how there are so many different vegetables and how we can change the flavours by preparing them different ways. I also love the variety of textures and colours, literally a rainbow of colours. And how these three things really help keep my meals and snacks interesting, different and most importantly, tasting delicious.

While I could say the same things about fruits, lets face it... vegetables are often the harder sell.

I know what you were thinking...I bet you thought since I'm a dietitian I would go on and on about all the nutrients vegetables and fruits are filled with. How all of these nutrients like vitamin, minerals, antioxidants, fibre and carbohydrates are really important for our bodies and can help keep us healthy. While this is true and it's important to include these foods in a balanced diet. It's equally important to like and enjoy the foods we eat, including vegetables and fruit, and learn how to cook and prepare them so they are delicious.

Some people will wrinkle up their nose and say they don't like vegetables. If this is you, my advice would be to keep trying them and try preparing them different ways. My daughter hates cooked broccoli but loves broccoli shredded and made into a coleslaw type salad. I dislike boiled Brussel sprouts but roast them and I can't get enough.

As for filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit. Start small, start with small changes or additions to your meals and snacks that over time you can add to. I often overlook vegetables at breakfast. As much as I love them they are not on my radar first thing in the morning. But I've started adding spinach or kale to an egg sandwich. And while its not half my plate yet, it's a small change that I can build on.

paoched egg with broken yolk over spinach and a english muffin

Here are some of our favourite ways to eat and enjoy vegetables and fruit.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

plate of brussel sprouts

Homemade French Fries
making homemage french fries

Team Snack Ideas
frozen sections of watermelon on a popsicle stick in flower pots

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
jar of sweet potato and squash soup

Beet and Apple Salad
plate of beet and apple salad with cheese on top

We hope you find some vegetables and fruit to enjoy!

Shannon RD
Registered Dietitian